Phoenix surprise Stubbins as Jets fall flat

Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins is struggling to find any positives after a 4-1 A-League defeat to the Phoenix in Wellington on Sunday.

The Jets fell behind in just the fourth minute and struggled to get a foothold in the match from that time onwards despite having the majority of possession.

“The stats would suggest that we played some decent football but the problem for us was our effectiveness in the front third which wasn’t what we’d like it to be” Stubbins said.

“We’ve got some work to do in that area, that’s for sure.  Just the action on goal and the final execution – that clinical edge that you need to win games in the A-League – it wasn’t there for us.

It’s disappointing, but there are a few things we could have done better defensively as well. We just have to deal with that now and see what we can improve on for our trip to Perth.”

Stubbins has also revealed the Jets had regarded the trip to Wellington as an easier assignment than their first two games of the new A-League season.

“You’d probably think that coming to Wellington off the back of playing Melbourne City and Central Coast Mariners at home, it would be a game where you might be able to get some points, with all respect.  But the Phoenix set themselves up in a very strong manner and we found it difficult to break them down.

Livewire Northern Irishman Jonathan Steele was left out of the touring party after starting the first two games of the season, but Stubbins refuted suggestions he would have made a difference.

“I don’t think leaving anyone out of the group today or bringing anyone in made a difference to how we played,” he said. “It’s a poor result, but it’s not down to any individual whatsoever.”

“The boys just didn’t click. We didn’t really threaten to get the goal that would have given some parity to the game.

“The boys are obviously all very disappointed as are all of us involved with the game today.  I would suggest there will probably be a couple of changes with reference to four difficult road trips that we’ve had.”

“Credit though to Wellington – they made the game very difficult for us and were worthy winners in the end.”